Hunter Hayes Interview: CMT Artists of the Year

Talented Newcomer Looks Back on a "Perfect" Year

As 2013 draws to a close, CMT Artists of the Year honoree Hunter Hayes took time to reflect on his proudest moments.

CMT will host its fourth annual CMT Artists of the Year special on Tuesday (Dec. 3) to recognize an illustrious group of musicians for their outstanding accomplishments this year. In addition to Hayes, the gathering will also honor Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line and Tim McGraw.

For Hayes, it’s difficult to pinpoint a specific highlight in what turned out to be the biggest year of his career so far.

“Man, it’s so hard to pick one,” Hayes told CMT Hot 20 Countdown . “I don’t even know what to do with myself at this point. It’s been such a beautifully perfect, awesome year. I’ve checked so many things off of my list and put more on the list. But I don’t know if I could point one thing out.

“To me, I think the record going platinum means a lot. I’m very proud of this record. … I mean, this record has a lot of things about it that I believed in and I still believe and will always believe in. And to know that has meant something, potentially, to somebody else, that’s huge for me.”

Hayes wrote and produced every song and played every instrument on his debut album, but he says he’s looking forward to the addition of some great musicians on his sophomore project.

“I’ve brought in some of my favorite musicians, and it’s going to be a little bit of everything,” he said. “I still love working by myself on some of the things we want to do, and I’m passionate about it, so obviously, I’ll be trying to play as much as possible just for the fun of it. But I am going to bring in some guys … and keep experimenting because that’s what records are for.”

Although the year is nearing its end, there’s no slowing down in sight for Hayes. He’s already making plans for 2014.

“Playing some new music!” he laughs. “There’s a lot of things that we have in mind for 2014 — everything from touring to the new record. I’m really excited at the end of such a beautiful year that I couldn’t be more grateful for. We’re going to end it, in my opinion, the best way. We get to end it with a headline tour. Then I get to go into the studio and start from scratch.”

Tune in to CMT on Tuesday (Dec. 3) at 8 p.m. ET to celebrate an incredible year in music, and get all the latest CMT Artists of the Year updates at